Install New Weatherstripping to Keep Your Home Toasty

Time: 20 mins per door/window

Have you been shuffling around the house in slippers lately? Before you touch that thermostat, make sure you’re not losing heat to the gaps around doors and windows. Install new weatherstripping to keep your home toasty and your wallet happy. (PSA: Weatherstripping is for the sides and top of doors and swing-out windows. Slide-up windows are pre-sealed.)

What's in it for you?

  • Stay toasty
  • Lower your heating bill
  • Stop dust from entering your home

(Show me how)

Install New Weatherstripping to Keep Your Home Toasty

  1. Check for air leaks to find out where you need new weatherstripping. Put your hand over the edge of a door or window. Does it feel colder than the rest of the surface? You should probably weatherstrip there. You can also light a candle or incense stick and place it in front of the space between the door/window and its frame. If you see the flame flicker, you’ve got unwanted air flow.

  2. Choose new weatherstripping. You basically have three options, but we're skipping ultra-expensive compression strips and V-type weatherstripping this time. They’re durable, which is great, but they’re also hard to install correctly. Do yourself a favor and just opt for self-adhesive strips instead. They’re cheaper, come in rolled-up strips and don’t need to be nailed in (read: less damage to your doors and windows). Cons? You’ll need to swap them out after a few years.

  3. Measure your frame. Grab your measuring tape and measure the width of the frame where the adhesive strips will go. This is the small ledge where the door or window meets the frame. (It’ll face outward if the door or window swings out and vice versa.) Don’t forget to measure the length too so you know how much weatherstripping to buy.

  4. Get new weatherstripping. Head over to your local hardware store with pictures of the doors/windows you’d like to seal — closed is best, with a focus on the space between the doors/windows and their frames. Find weatherstripping that’s roughly as thick as the gap. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but you do need the doors and windows to close.

  5. Remove old weatherstripping, especially if it came with the house. Many houses come pre-weatherstripped. If yours came with compression or V-type weatherstripping, use the claw of a hammer to remove the nails. If you’ve got the self-adhesive variety, just peel it away.

  6. Cut the new weatherstripping to the length of the frame. Measure the length of the door/window you want to weatherstrip from the top of the frame to the bottom. Give yourself an extra inch so you can really get into those corners and snip, snip, snip.

  7. Clean the frame. Grab a paper towel or washcloth, coat it in soapy water and clean the door or window frame. You don’t want any dust preventing the adhesive on the weatherstripping from sticking.

  8. Apply the weatherstripping. Peel as you apply so the strip doesn’t get stuck to itself or something else you don’t want it stuck to. Once you’re done with both sides and the top, close the door or window for half an hour to let the adhesive set. Go make yourself a snack. You earned it.

Pro Tip: Want to seal the bottom of your door as well? Grab a door sweep from your local hardware store — these metal sweeps with rubber bottoms attach to the bottom of your door with screws and create a seal between the door and the floor.

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